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Exclusive Q&A: 'Ceremony' Star Michael Angarano Insists Tights Are Masculine

Michael Angarano
Getty Images

Robert Pattinson hasn't always been Kristen Stewart's leading man.

Long before she even considered moving to the small town of Forks, she was supported from a messy trauma by Michael Angarano in "Speak." The two young stars eventually dated and, well, you know at least half of that story.

As for the other half, Angarano appears to be doing just as fine. He stars in "Ceremony," out this weekend, as well as "Red State," "Homework" and "Haywire" later this year. Upon meeting him backstage at MTV's "The Seven," he comes off excited, inspired and even a little goofy.

And we absolutely understand what K.Stew saw in him.

Michael Angarano in "Ceremony"
Magnolia Pictures

Your character in "Ceremony," Sam, is a bit of a man-child who tries to prove he's a big shot in an attempt to woo Uma Thurman's character. And he talks really fast. Did you ever find him annoying?
To judge him in any way is very wrong in my point of view. I just looked at him as a very flawed, manically insecure guy whose having an identity crisis of some kind, whose been bulls**tting himself for so long that he doesn't realize that he's bullsh**ting other people too. He's fooling himself but not really anybody else. If anything, I really felt for him instead of finding him annoying. The more annoying he is, the more upsetting it is.

His best friend Marshall (Reece Thompson) seems to have a bit of the love-hate relationship with Sam and his B.S. as the audience sometimes feels.
The movie's really a love story about the friends. These two guys are probably as close to brothers as possible without being related. It's such an interesting power dynamic I always looked as Sam as this little yapping dog trying to prove himself to the much bigger, much calmer dog who doesn't need to prove himself… In a way, Marshall is the real leading man and Sam is really the more neurotic one.

That's interesting to hear you say, especially since you were originally cast as Marshall. How far into the process did you get before making the switch?
Pretty close. We were three weeks away from shooting and Jesse Eisenberg, the guy who was going to play Sam, left to go do "The Social Network" which was obviously a very smart career decision. I had rehearsed with him for a long time, for about a year and a half actually. It was almost like a play – I pretty much knew not only the two main boys' roles but the dialogue of all the characters in the film. I felt like I could have played Uma Thurman's character by the time we were ready to film.

It was hugely insightful for me to watch Jesse act in the role before I did.

So whose idea was it to swap parts?
We came across it mutually. Max [Winkler, the director] asked me to audition for Sam after I had auditioned a few other Sams with me as Marshall. Those guys were great actors, but there was just something that wasn't there I guess.

Michael Angarano and Uma Thurman in "Ceremony"
Magnolia Pictures

What is it about Uma Thurman – why does she keep playing these roles where she's got the younger man on her arm, doing the cougar thing?
Maybe she relates to it somehow herself personally. She's incredibly smart and I think she recognizes, as a person, that age is not the most important thing when you have two people that relate to each other emotionally… There's a real sensitivity there I think, a real understanding that she has. I don't know, maybe she just likes younger men.

With "Prime," "Ceremony" and "Bel Ami" with Robert Pattinson, you have to wonder.
Oh, "Bel Ami," that's right. Can't wait to see that.

Henry Winkler's son directed this film. Did the Fonz ever stop by the set?
No, he didn't. He's one of the busiest men. He's always working. But he's also the most extremely supportive and sweetest man. And he does Elmo voices for all of us. I mean that. He does Elmo voices.

Word is your mother owns a bunch of dance studios – does that mean you grew up dancing?
I grew up in dance studios. I was forced to be in several numbers in recitals and dance competitions. I took one tap class – literally one class – and then I quit.

So no "Billy Elliot"-like moments as a kid?
No. It comes very naturally to me and it's extremely helpful because I find I approach things very physically. I'm weirdly flexible so when I dance, I dance like a 17-year-old girl.

Maybe you should do a guest stint on "Glee."
Yeah! If I could sing, that would be great, but you don't want to hear me sing.

No? What happens?
It's just terrible, really terrible. I can't listen to my own voice. I change my voicemail on my machine literally every week because I'm so obsessed with getting the right tone of voice.

Michael Angarano
Getty Images

Okay, so you're flexible, you can move – could there be an action hero in your future? Would you be a man in tights?
I'd do it. I'd totally do it. Of course I would. Tights are very masculine.

Who would be the dream superhero to play?
I always thought that I would grow to be six-foot-one, so Batman was always someone I liked. Turns out I'm about five inches shorter than my desired height. It would have to be something that suits me, I guess you could say, because I'm not believable as a superhero in normal, everyday life.

Neither was Peter Parker.
That's right. But they just cast Andrew Garfield. It's going to be such a great movie. He's such a great actor.

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